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Dealing with insecurity: the chronic second guesser


The struggle to choose the right path. Credit: James Wheeler/Flickr/Creative Commons

The struggle to choose the right path. Credit: James Wheeler/Flickr/Creative Commons

It is not so much I hate making decisions, it is that I hate the chronic second-guessing phase I invariably go through after I make one.

My wife hates it as I wallow about the house griping and wondering if I made the right decision.

I go through these incredible mind-games, analyzing and re-analyzing my decision. It is an endless barrage of what ifs. Often it is easier not to make a decision and sometimes it takes days, even weeks for me to make the simplest one.

Over the years, I have gotten better at it. But still it is a work in progress.

So what causes this indecisiveness and second guessing?

In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells of a man going on a journey. While he was gone, he didn’t want his money sitting idle and asked his slaves to invest it. The owner expected a return on this money when he got back.

All three were obviously trusted servants. With such money they could easily have walked away with the cash and never been seen again.

One man was giving five talents, one three and the last — one talent.

The key to understanding this verse is to realize all three servants had the SAME MASTER. The only variable was their own emotional well-being.

As we read the account, the slaves who received the five and three talents went out and did business.

But the third man was paralyzed into inaction:

“But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.”

When the master returned, he called for an accounting. The first two showed up with double the money and were rewarded accordingly.

The third dug up the one talent and returned it to the master. The master was angered the slave didn’t even bother to give it to bankers and collect interest.

But the real issue is why did he bury it? The answer is found in verse 25, the slave said, “I was afraid.”

Clearly by what the master said next, he was the source of the slave’s fear:

“You wicked lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.”

The slave was totally intimidated by his hard dealing master and felt his safest course of action was doing nothing.

  • The slave was afraid of the men — fearful he couldn’t meet the master’s expectations, i.e. make money but not enough.
  • He was always thinking the worst — afraid he would lose all or some of the original investment — then he would really be in trouble.
  • He was indecisive. He couldn’t decide what to do. His indecisiveness was contrasted by the man with five talents who immediately went out and invested (v 15). There was no second guessing. He had a plan and he did it.
  • He feared others would steal the money and that’s why he didn’t invest it with bankers. He was terrified they would walk away with it. Sometimes the fear becomes irrational.

In a nutshell, insecure people are controlled by their fears.

So what is the cause? Oddly, I think it stems back to our perception of God.

Like the slave, do you believe God is always angry with you — looking for the slightest mistake to punish you and call you up on your decision. Or maybe they had huge unrealistic expectations that you couldn’t accomplish.

A lot of this is learned behavior as we transfer the perception we have of our parents to God. If we fail to meet our parents expectations, it can deposit a deep sense of insecurity inside us.

There are certain Bible verses that have become popular in our Christian vernacular. Because of this they have become common and we often gloss over their meaning. One of them is found in Romans:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NASV)

This familiar verse adds something critical to our discussion. While we were sinners — includes making mistakes, failures and wrong decisions — God loved us.

Do you believe that God loves you dearly as His son or daughter? Do you believe God will work all things together for good — even our bad decisions (Romans 8:28)?

Do you believe the following verse describes you?

“The Lord your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. (Zephaniah 3:17 NASV)

To deal with deep-rooted insecurity, we need to understand and BELIEVE who we are in Christ.

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